Greg's 1977 QLD U18s jersey next to Kevin's 1955 QLD jersey in Greg's wardrobe. (Picture: Contributed)
Greg's 1977 QLD U18s jersey next to Kevin's 1955 QLD jersey in Greg's wardrobe. (Picture: Contributed)

The South Burnett father and son who played for QLD

KEVIN and Greg McMahon were two Murgon footballers who both pulled on the QLD jersey throughout their careers.

Kevin McMahon was born in Murgon in 1935, playing rugby league for Murgon before moving to Marist Brothers Ashgrove in Brisbane, where he played rugby union.

Kevin McMahon holding the 1964 SBRL premiership shield. (Picture: Contributed)
Kevin McMahon holding the 1964 SBRL premiership shield. (Picture: Contributed)

As a hard running five-eight with a powerful fend who could sidestep off either foot, Kevin excelled at the 15-man game, representing Queensland in 1954 and 1955.

He stared for the Reds in the 1955 series against New South Wales.

He was rewarded with selection in the Australia Wallaby team to tour New Zealand, however injured his shoulder in a lead up game and did not play a test against the All Blacks.

In 1956 as a newly married man with bills to pay, Kevin gave up the amateur game to play rugby league with Fortitude Valley.

In 1957, he was a member of Valley’s Brisbane Rugby League premiership winning side.

Valleys Premiership pennant from 1957. (Picture: Contributed)
Valleys Premiership pennant from 1957. (Picture: Contributed)

In 1958, he signed with Brothers and played two seasons before retiring at the end of 1959.

Kevin returned to the South Burnett to take over the family business, an electrical goods store in Murgon.

After four seasons out of the game, he was enticed back to become captain-coach of Murgon. He led Murgon to the 1964 South Burnett Rugby League premiership, beating Nanango 7-2 in the grand final at the Wondai Sportsground.

Jim Fouras, then an industrial chemist at the South Burnett Dairy at Murgon and later Speaker of the Queensland parliament, scored the winning try.

Kevin made a break on halfway and put Jim through a gap and he ran 20 yards to score in extra time.

The 1964 Murgon premiership winning side. (Picture: Contributed)
The 1964 Murgon premiership winning side. (Picture: Contributed)

As a top sportsman of his day, in 1956 Kevin was given the honour of carrying the Olympic torch when it passed through the Sunshine Coast on its way down to Melbourne.

Speaking on 4SB Football Forum in 1975, Kevin McMahon named these five players as the best of his era – Buddy Hunter and Tommy Perrett (Nanango); Bobby Dennien and Percy Izlaub (Wondai); and Noel Liesegang (Kingaroy and later Murgon).

Kevin was involved with Murgon rugby league for many years.

The scoreboard at the Murgon Showground is named after him.

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When Murgon was desperately short of players in 1977, Kevin made a brief comeback at the age of 42.

His son Greg, who represented Queensland that year in Under 18s, felt so bad about his Dad having to fill in, that Greg went into the rooms at halftime and demanded his Dad give him his jersey.

Greg McMahon playing for the Queensland U18s in 1977.
Greg McMahon playing for the Queensland U18s in 1977.

Greg duly ran out and played the second half in the same jersey.

The two football jerseys, Kevin’s 1955 Queensland rugby union jersey and Greg’s 1977 Queensland U18s rugby league jersey, now hang side-by-side in Greg’s wardrobe.

The McMahon family likes to brag that Greg was part of the best ever back-row combination in Queensland rugby league history – the U18 team that played NSW at the SCG in June 1977.

The were Greg McMahon, Paul Vautin and the lock was Wally Lewis.

The fact that 13 of the 17 players in the team that day came from regional areas underlines the strength of country rugby league back in the 1970s.

1977 Queensland vs New South Wales program at the Sydney Cricket Ground. (Picture: Contributed)
1977 Queensland vs New South Wales program at the Sydney Cricket Ground. (Picture: Contributed)

Greg’s son Blake McMahon (Kevin’s grandson) represented Central Queensland in rugby league and played with the Murgon Mustangs last season, continuing a fine family tradition.